Last Friday, award-winning cellist Jonah Kim and San Francisco Ballet soloist Julia Rowe – accompanied by pianist Dominic Cheli and violinist Moni Simeonov – played (and danced) for a near-capacity crowd at the Patil Theater for the second installment of the 2023-24 Harker Concert Series.
Kim and Cheli paired up to kick off the night’s program with a piece not written for the cello, Bach’s “Viola da Gamba Sonata No. 1 in G Major.” They proved to be a powerful combination, as Cheli provided glistening strolling piano for Kim’s nuanced interpretation of Bach’s folksy melodies.
In keeping with the night’s theme of “Songs that Make Us Dance,” Rowe joined the musicians on stage for two of the evening’s selections. Her choreographic interpretation of Sheridan Seyfried’s “Dancing in the Eye of the Storm” – premiered by Kim and Cheli last year – paired wonderfully with the sprightly spirit of Seyfried’s music. Later, during Camille Saint-Saëns “Le Cygne,” she provided a lyrical and precise performance of Mikhail Fokine’s choreography.
Kim, Cheli and Simeonov gathered onstage for the night’s closing piece, Shostakovich’s “Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, Op. 67,” expertly navigating the wide range of emotional territory established by the legendary Russian composer. The final movement’s famously mournful E major chord was greeted with massive applause, after which the performers headed to the Rothschild Performing Arts Center’s lobby to chat (and, of course, take many photos) with members of the audience.